Sisterhood Blog

Idea #11: A Record Label of Our Own

By Sarah Aroeste

  • Print
  • Share Share

Imagine a politically minded groovy singer-songwriter, an electric rock musician whose work is infused with her deep sense of spirituality and a Ladino chanteuse — all women, all working toward the common goal of supporting the aspirations of other Jewish, female musical talents. Throw in other songstresses and female-led groups — performers of such musical genres as reggae, punk, jazz, Sephardic, klezmer and children’s interest — and what you have is a diverse roster, worthy of its own music label.

Why is a Jewish women’s music label needed? Well, there is a plethora of professional Jewish female-led bands. But until now, there has been no significant communal infrastructure to support and nurture female musicians whose work is inspired by the unique Jewish female experience. While there are highly esteemed Jewish music labels, they are (for the most part) dominated by male managers and rosters. Many Jewish music festivals, series and communal holiday shows often only have one “token” female group on the bill. Jewish female musicians deserve a chance to play more and larger venues; moreover, audiences deserve a chance to hear them do so.

The label would hold its artists to the highest of standards, thus proving that Jewish female musicians are as commercially viable as their male counterparts. It would work with Jewish communal institutions, such as synagogues, JCCs and Hillels — as well as secular venues in different cities — to ensure that female acts are fairly represented in festivals and cultural offerings, and that our music is distributed in appropriate outlets. It would provide its artists access to quality and affordable recording studios, tour managers, promoters, and public relations and marketing professionals. Producing events, such as Jewish women’s music festivals — a “Lilith Fair” in the truest sense! — would also be part of the label’s mission. And the label’s musicians would play a key role in selecting incoming artists.

Established Jewish musicians like Naomi Less, Chana Rothman (the aforementioned electric rock musician and groovy singer-songwriter, respectively) and I (the Ladino chanteuse) have joined together to create a model we plan to replicate in the months to come. We have chosen to mesh our varied musical styles on one stage to demonstrate a new paradigm — one of inclusivity, collaboration and action — for the next generation of Jewish female artists. While we represent very different genres of Jewish music, we all acknowledge what we have in common, and the kind of support we need to reach our full potential. We believe that women can have a much stronger voice when they’re banding together, rather than working against each other.

The Jewish women’s music label would draw inspiration from Ani Defranco’s Righteous Babe Records in the secular music scene — with the goal of helping ensure that gender equity is a valued part of the Jewish music scene. Our work would likely move more Jewish women to pick up instruments and let their voices emerge in this burgeoning field.

Quality music would be at the label’s core. But with a Jewish women’s music label, the community would gain much more than just good albums. We believe that women can use their voices to create positive change in our communities. Chana, Naomi and I all work with a variety of populations, and are committed to social change as an inherent part of our musical work. It was fitting that our “Lights Ignite Change” concert — the Philadelphia-based kickoff to our collaborative effort — took place on Hanukkah: the festival that celebrates bringing light into the darkness. The event not only brought together three very different Jewish female musicians, it also rallied a wide range of communal organizations around the issue of domestic violence. Going forward, we hope to tackle other important issues.

The Jewish women’s music label would show the community how women’s voices can harmonize and inspire. With such talented Jewish women on the music scene right now, and with powerful missions, this is one roster I would want to follow.

Sarah Aroeste is a New York-based musician and leader of the Sarah Aroeste Band, a contemporary Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) music group that performs around the world.


This post is part of the series “28 Days, 28 Ideas.” Be sure to check out yesterday’s idea, “WiseGen and the Great Transition” on eJewish Philanthropy and tomorrow’s on FederationConnection, the new blog of the Jewish Federations of North America. You can also visit 28days28ideas.com for the full list of ideas as they progress.


The Jewish Daily Forward

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Record Label, Jewish Music, Albums

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
nancykarin vardi Sat. Feb 13, 2010

Dear Faithfuls, I am a former American/Israeli living in Israel,a singer, songwriter and have produced and created an album now called "Some Kinda Spirit!".. I do not have a label as yet. I am interested in joining your group.

Let's be in touch.

NancyKarin Vardi




Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.